Curling: Stevens shares first at nationals
Bemidji's Matt Stevens rink won a pair of matches Monday to move into a first-place tie at the USA Curling Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Stevens is 4-1 and shares the lead with Matt Hames of Buffalo, N.Y. They are one game ahead of Bemidji's Pete Fenson, who shares third place at 3-2 after splitting two matches on Monday.
Matt Farbelow of Minneapolis, with Bemidji's Eric Fenson as third, also is 3-2, part of a four-way tie for third in a bunched-up field.
Fenson and Stevens were tied for the lead after Monday's morning draw.
Stevens beat Wes Johnson of Seattle 7-4 and Fenson turned back Todd Birr of Mankato 9-7.
Fenson trailed 4-2 after four ends before laying a rare five spot in the fifth to take the lead and countered Birr's one in the sixth with two in the seventh for a 9-5 margin.
Birr got one back in the eighth and stole one in the ninth before conceding.
Stevens was down 2-1 after three before getting one in the fourth to tie, stealing two in the fifth to go ahead and another in the sixth for a 5-2 lead.
The pair swapped singletons through the next four ends with Stevens scoring the three point win.
In the Monday evening draw, Stevens fell behind Keven Kakela of Rolla, N.D., 3-2 before rallying for three in the fifth and three more in the seventh en route to a 9-6 victory.
Fenson, meanwhile, could not get untracked against Craig Brown of Madison, Wis. Brown scored singletons in the first, third, fourth and sixth, then closed out a 6-3 win with two in the ninth.
The teams have one draw today at 1:30 p.m. Stevens and Hames square off to break the tie.
Sunday night, Stevens posted a 7-2 win over winless Bryan Wight to reach 2-1 scoring three in the third to take control.
Fenson shrugged off an earlier loss to beat Farbelow 9-4 in a matchup of the Fenson brothers. It also reached 2-1.
Fenson scored two in the second to go ahead and stole points in three straight ends to widen the gap.. The winners ended matters with a three spot in the ninth.
In Saturday's second draw, Matt Hames of New York led his team to an upset, beating Fenson 8-2 while Farbelow improved to 1-1 with a 7-6 win over Todd Birr of Mankato.
Stevens also leveled his record with a last rock 8-6 win over Craig Brown of Wisconsin. Brown tried to freeze to the Stevens stone in the back of the house but left it open enough for Stevens to chip it out for the win.
In the women's division, a three way tie developed with veterans Patti Lank of New York and Amy Wright of Duluth at 3-0 along with Becca Hamilton, the Wisconsin junior star.
With the withdrawal of the Deb McCormick rink last summer from the nationals, there are no Bemidji curlers in the women's division.
At the World Juniors at Flimms, Switzerland, the USA's Alex Carlson was 3-2 and Sean Beighton 0-4 after Monday's play. Both won their national titles at Bemidji in January.